by Lisa van Hesteren | February 24, 2021
Let’s be clear: digital retail has always been a competitive environment, but the global pandemic has seen a huge retail pivot to e-commerce as high street stores have been forced to close.
According to 2020 data from IBM’s U.S. Retail Index, the pandemic has accelerated the shift to digital shopping by roughly five years, with e-commerce growth of nearly 20% in 2020.
Nike saw its digital sales grow by 82% year-on-year between June and August last year. Amazon’s sales rose 37% YOY in Q3 2020. The shift to online shopping was happening anyway – albeit it at a slower pace. COVID-19 has super-charged that momentum.
Everyone has an e-commerce play now, even brands that were primarily ‘offline’ bricks-and-mortar stores. In my previous blog, I already touched upon the 7 CX trends to hit e-stores in 2021. The next question is, how do you stand out and create real connection with their customers?
Customer Experience can play a pivotal role in differentiating your brand against the choppy sea of competition. Let’s look at some of the ways it can help build a closer relationship with your customers.
There are more channels than ever before, and your customers expect you to be on them – all the time (only they don’t think of it in terms of ‘channels’ – customers simply think of it as being available in the same places they spend their time).
This ability to deliver a consistent, seamless omnichannel brand experience for your customers creates multiple chances to engage your customers, through social, text, offline and more. It pays off too. Research has shown that the more channels a customer uses to engage with a brand, the more likely they are to buy from them.
Authenticity is key. How often have you responded positively to a brand that makes you feel like it’s sincere and really showing what is going on inside their business? It’s the same reason we respond positively to ‘real’ feelings and brand messages on social rather than the idealized perfection every other company is peddling. In example, giving your audience a peak behind the curtains with sharing “a day in our office” video will get your customers to bond with you more than perfectly slick sales video.
This also counts for your customer service; the more open and honest you can be in your customer service, the more trust you build into that relationship. The more transparent you can be about your products and services, the more you can manage customer expectations and create advocacy for ‘doing what you promised’.
The psychology behind personalization is simple. We all want to be recognised as individuals and we will feel lasting affinity with brands who appear to understand who we are and what we want.
Personalization can be a valuable tool in helping make the purchase journey as simple and frictionless as possible, and in turn this can create increased customer loyalty, larger basket size and repeat purchases. A study by McKinsey has shown that companies who can successfully personalize the customer experience across both physical and digital channels can achieve a revenue increase of 5 to 15% across their entire customer base.
Not all heroes wear capes, and similarly not all brands have enough awareness of their own superheroes – their customer support team and the huge impact that great CX can have on an organization’s success. PWC’s research showed that 86% of customers are willing to pay more for great CX. The more expensive the item, the more they’re willing to pay – for the item and the CX.
Interacting with CX agents who genuinely seem to love the brand they’re working for, and know its products and services inside and out, can be transformational. Finding that calibre of agent can be a challenge. Due to our WFH model, we can hand-pick CX talent from anywhere in the world. We look for superfans who live (and love) our clients’ brands. We call them ‘fans of brands’, and we only hire them if they love our clients’ brands as much as our clients do
If you’re wondering how you can make better use of your CX to connect with your customers, I’m always here to talk.
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